About Ph.D. studies at Masaryk
Doctoral studies are the highest level of education you can achieve, demonstrating that you are capable of independent creative, scientific, research or theoretical activities, and that you have made significant contributions to scholarship in your field. What is it like to study a Ph.D. programme at Masaryk University? Read on.
Tailored to your needs
As a doctoral student, you will gain in-depth knowledge of your field of study as well as of other disciplines necessary for scientific work both within and outside the academic community.
Doctoral studies are tailored to suit your particular needs, i.e. you will study only what you wish to study and what fulfils your purpose, aided by your supervisor, mentor or expert consultant. Doctoral studies are intended for students who are not afraid to work independently, who are interested in conducting original and beneficial research in a given field of study, and who wish to advance their academic careers.
Writing and research
Although doctoral studies do include studies and examinations in specific courses, the quality and originality of your research project results forms the most significant part of your overall assessment. Most frequently, research results are published as specialised articles in conference proceedings and scholarly journals.
The final output which all study activities are directed to is the preparation of your doctoral thesis. See the Organisation of studies for more information.
Is a Ph.D. for you?
Doctoral studies are not a natural continuation of Master‘s studies, as is the case with the transition from Bachelor‘s to Master‘s studies. Doctoral studies are not intended for everyone – it is essential to carefully consider your personal motivation and the reasons which lead you to study, especially with regard to the duration of this commitment; see the Ph.D. studies duration section.
When considering enrolment, you should also consider the future career prospects of Ph.D. graduates, your personal career plans, etc. See the Your career after obtaining a Ph.D. section for more information.
Specifics of doctoral studies
Learn more about the course, organisation, and duration of doctoral studies at Masaryk University, along with the professional profile and opportunities of Ph.D. graduates.
The course of doctoral studies is governed by an individual study plan, developed in collaboration with your supervisor at the beginning of your studies. This document, approved by the doctoral board, becomes binding and its fulfilment is obligatory for the entire duration of studies.
The individual study plan defines all of your responsibilities and sets out a schedule for their fulfilment. Your responsibilities include in particular the following:
- completion of compulsory courses:
- courses designed to broaden and enhance your knowledge in the field beyond the scope of Master’s studies,
- courses designed to refine specialised knowledge,
- specialised seminars and lectures,
- demonstration of scholarly language competencies, which are verified by completing two relevant semester-long courses, or by writing a foreign-language publication for a scholarly journal or conference proceedings and presenting a lecture at a relevant scholarly event,
- preparation of a doctoral thesis, which comprises a literary review of existing scholarship, data collection, statistical analysis, preparation and subsequent work on your core research project, etc.,
- presentation of your partial or final research results via professional publications in scientific journals and proceedings, participation in thematic international conferences, etc.,
- completion of an international study period of at least one month in duration, which is mandatory for full-time doctoral students, or collaboration on an international project including participation in regular project team meetings with results published or presented abroad, or other forms of direct participation in international collaboration,
- participation in teaching of Bachelor’s and Master’s programmes or other educational activities in the workplace; you may also be entrusted with supervising or reviewing the final theses of students of Bachelor’s or Master’s programmes, helping with examination organisation, etc.
- other specific requirements associated with the focus of your doctoral programme,
- completion of the doctoral state examination where you will be asked to demonstrate deep theoretical knowledge in your field as well locating it in broader contexts while also demonstrating your ability to acquire, evaluate and creatively utilise scholarly findings. The aim of this examination is to prove your readiness for independent research activity. The doctoral state examination takes place before the doctoral state examination board. The examination may also include a discussion of your doctoral thesis.
After fulfilling all study conditions and successfully passing the state doctoral examination, the final step in your studies is the doctoral thesis defence. During the course of the defence, you will present the results of your doctoral thesis project to the board and discuss your results with your reviewers. The doctoral thesis defence is public.
The standard duration of doctoral studies is four years, depending on the degree programme; the maximum duration of studies is eight years. By the end of this period you must meet all of the conditions and requirements of the doctoral degree programme and complete your studies by passing the doctoral state examination and defending your thesis. The average duration of successfully completed doctoral studies at MU is 5.5 years. If your individual plan is more ambitious than the stated statistics, you will need to start studying very actively and responsibly from the outset.
In addition to the duration of studies, it is also essential to consider the mode of your doctoral studies. Two options are available: full-time and combined. Full-time study mode refers to studies which comprise your primary commitment and obligation to the faculty; you will be involved in the daily activities of the workplace to which you were admitted. Combined study mode, on the other hand, is intended for applicants who carry out their studies while e.g. employed elsewhere and who thus consult with their supervisor less frequently. Both study modes are equally challenging. However, it must be mentioned that combined studies are not always available; the availability of this study mode depends on the options provided by a given workplace and the research focus of doctoral theses written as part of a given doctoral degree programme. It is therefore appropriate to discuss this matter in advance with a potential supervisor or faculty doctoral studies administrator.
In most countries a Ph.D. degree constitutes a basic prerequisite for an academic career; for some graduates this subsequent career comprises a natural next step. On the other hand, not all students apply for doctoral studies to pursue a university career and many graduates find employment in the private sector where research skills and a scholarly approach are required, e.g. in applied research in scientific research institutions, etc. Whether you choose a career in academia or in the private sector, a doctorate constitutes a ticket to independent research activity.
As a doctoral student, you will obtain in-depth knowledge of your field as well as of other disciplines essential for scholarship, i.e. the scientific method, theory, methods of qualitative and quantitative research, academic writing skills and pedagogical competencies. In addition, you will acquire so-called transferable skills: you will master teamwork, become proficient at organising your own time, and acquire managerial skills by leading small teams of research assistants or supervising the theses of Bachelor’s and Master’s students. You will perfect your communication skills by continuously presenting the results of your research project and by teaching lectures and seminars. All of these skills will be useful when applying for your dream job.